Nic Naitanui's right knee ACL tear, just a week after his contender for Mark of the Year, and after having missed the entire 2017 season after rupturing his left ACL, is a major blow.
THE COACH SAID...
Coach Adam Simpson confirmed Naitanui will miss the rest of the season, after scans revealed an ACL tear.
"Really disappointing for Nic and the club," Simpson said.
"It's a long road back, he spent a good 16 to 17 months getting back to fitness, and yeah, he did make a difference for us for this part of the year, but you know he'll go through the same process and he'll be back better than ever.
NIC NAT'S STATS
Naitanui had only missed one game this season, through suspension, and was producing performances on par with his play during the 2015 season, when the Eagles made it to the grand final before going down to Hawthorn.
He was averaging 30 hit-outs and four tackles per game, despite spending significantly less playing time on the field.
In 2015, Naitanui averaged 75 per cent of game time on the field, while this season the club limited the 201-centimetre ruckman to just 57 per cent.
THE LEAST GAME TIME...
Removing outliers who have been injured early in matches, it’s the lowest amount of game time for any player, says Braden Quartermaine of PerthNow, July 15, 2018.
Naitanui has spent 11 hours and 26 minutes on the bench, often receiving rubdowns on the boundary as trainers help to get the 201cm, 110kg powerhouse ready for his next burst.
...FOR THE GREATEST EFFECT
Naitanui is the No.1 ruckman in the AFL when it comes to overall ranking points, contested possessions, clearances and pressure points per 100 minutes (prior to last weekend).
Greater Western Sydney co-captain Phil Davis, who had a close-up view of Naitanui’s speccie at Optus Stadium recently, said the dreadlocked big man gave the Eagles “an advantage like no other”.
“I thought his impact around the stoppages was enormous. When you’re out there, the presence the man has is second to none,” Davis told Fox Footy’s On The Couch.
“He’s terrifying. He moves like a cat and gives first use to the midfield.”
Davis said Naitanui’s ability to palm the ball in a 360-degree range meant the amount of focus the opposition needed to devote to him could destabilise their own plans.
“It’s amazing. They’d start hitting it back and so you start thinking, ‘OK we’ve got to start covering the back of the stoppage’. And then he hits it forward. And they know what’s going on. It’s an advantage like no other,” he said.
“The thing you have to think about is he can hit it anywhere. He’s got beautiful soft touch. So that adds to it. You take your mind away from what you want to do, because you have to focus on someone else.”
Nic Naitanui - Congratulations on an amazing career thus far!
AN ORANGE A DAY KEEPS MACULAR DEGENERATION AWAY: 15 YEAR STUDY
A New Study has shown that people who Regularly eat Oranges are Less Likely to develop Macular Degeneration.
Researchers at the Westmead Institute for Medical Research interviewed more than 2,000 Australian adults aged over 50 and followed them over a 15-year period.
The research showed that people who ate at least one serving of oranges every day had more than a 60% reduced risk of developing late macular degeneration 15 years later.
Lead Researcher Associate Professor Bamini Gopinath from the University of Sydney said the data showed that flavonoids in oranges appear to help prevent against the eye disease.
"Even eating an orange once a week seems to offer significant benefits.
Associate Professor Gopinath said that until now most research has focused on the effects of common nutrients such as vitamins C, E and A on the eyes.
"Our research is different because we focused on the relationship between flavonoids and macular degeneration.
"Flavonoids are powerful antioxidants found in almost all fruits and vegetables, and they have important anti-inflammatory benefits for the immune system.
"We examined common foods that contain flavonoids such as tea, apples, red wine and oranges.
"Significantly, the data did not show a relationship between other food sources protecting the eyes against the disease," she said.
One in seven Australians over 50 have some signs of macular degeneration. Age is the strongest known risk factor and the disease is more likely to occur after the age of 50.
There is currently no cure for the disease.
"Our research aims to understand why eye diseases occur, as well as the genetic and environmental conditions that may threaten vision," Associate Professor Gopinath concluded.
Bamini Gopinath Gerald Liew Annette Kifley Victoria M Flood Nichole Joachim Joshua R Lewis Jonathan M Hodgson Paul Mitchell. Dietary flavonoids and the prevalence and 15-y incidence of age-related macular degeneration. American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, 2018 DOI: 10.1093/ajcn/nqy114, and www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2018/07/180712100504.htm... See moreSee less
15-minutes of Exercise creates Optimal Brain State for Mastering New Skills
Exercise Increases Brain Connectivity and Efficiency
If you want to learn to walk a tightrope, it's a good idea to do some exercise after each practice session.
That's because a recent study in NeuroImage demonstrates that exercise performed immediately after practicing a new motor skill improves its long-term retention.
For the first time, the research shows that as little as fifteen-minutes of cardiovascular exercise increases brain connectivity and efficiency.
It's a discovery that could also accelerate recovery of motor skills in patients who have suffered a stroke or who face mobility problems following an injury.
Participants in the study were divided into those who rested after a first take on a new motor skill and those who rode an exercise bike for 15-minutes.
When asked to repeat the same task 24-hours later, those who had exercised used far fewer brain resources.
A MUSCULAR VIDEO GAME
To find out, the research team asked study participants to perform two different tasks. The first, known as a "pinch task" is a bit like a muscular video game. It consists of gripping an object akin to a gamers' joystick (and known as a dynamometer) and using varying degrees of force to move a cursor up and down to connect red rectangles on a computer screen as quickly as possible.
Participants were then asked to repeat an abridged version of this task, known as a handgrip task, at intervals of 30, 60, 90 minutes, after exercise or rest, while the researchers assessed their level of brain activity.
The final step in the study involved participants in both groups repeating the "pinch task" eight and then twenty-four hours after initially performing it, allowing the researchers to capture and compare brain activity and connectivity as the motor memories were consolidated.
MORE EFFICIENT BRAIN ACTIVITY
After exercise, there was less brain activity, most likely because the neural connections both between and within the brain hemispheres had become more efficient.
"Because the neural activation in the brains of those who had exercised was much lower," explains Fabien Dal Maso, the first author on the paper, "the neural resources could then be put to other tasks".
"Exercise may help free up part of your brain to do other things."
THE IMPORTANCE OF SLEEP
What the researchers found especially intriguing was that when they tested participants at the 8 hour mark, there was little difference between groups in skill retention.
The difference between the two groups was more apparent at the twenty-four mark.
"What this suggests to us is that sleep can interact with exercise to optimize the consolidation of motor memories," says Marc Roig, the senior author on the paper.
"It is very exciting to be working in this area right now because ... the research opens doors to health interventions that can potentially make a big difference to people's lives."
Fabien Dal Maso, Bennet Desormeau, Marie-Hélène Boudrias, Marc Roig. Acute cardiovascular exercise promotes functional changes in cortico-motor networks during the early stages of motor memory consolidation. NeuroImage, 2018; 174: 380 DOI: 10.1016/j.neuroimage.2018.03.029